You answered them, O LORD our God: you were a God that forgave them, though you took vengeance of their inventions.
Thou answeredst them, O Lord our God. It is prayer as worship which is here more especially dealt with. God responds to man's homage. The context brings the following points before us.
I. GOD MADE KNOWN HIS CLAIM TO HOMAGE AND WORSHIP. See ver. 7, "He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar." The cloudy pillar being regarded as the emblem of God's miraculous interpositions and various revelations, God declared himself to be their God, and demanded their entire reverence and obedience. He gave them his testimonies, and set his ordinances plainly before them. So we must feel that, the full revelations of God having come to us, we know distinctly what our service should be.
II. THEY RESPONDED TO GOD'S CLAIM BY WORSHIPFUL OBEDIENCE. Observe the blending of two things: "They kept the testimonies, or laws, and the ordinances, or religious regulations, that he gave them." Note that of this obedience and worship Moses and Aaron are made types in one age, and Samuel in another; but the response of the people Israel is assumed as represented by the types. It is not enough that we know God's testimonies and ordinances; our proper response is the fixed habit of worshipful obedience.
III. GOD RECOGNIZES AND REWARDS SUCH OBEDIENT RESPONSE. That is the "answering" which is here referred to.
1. We may always be sure of the Divine recognition of sincere worship, let its form be prayer or praise.
2. We may have good hope of its acceptance.
3. We are sure of a first answer in the blessing that worship brings to our own hearts.
4. We may even think our loyalty brings the blessing to others of an inspiring example.
5. And beyond all our imagination, God is wont to give direct answers to prayer, and gracious, comforting acknowledgments and rewards to worshipping souls. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Thou answeredst them, O LORD our God: thou wast a God that forgavest them, though thou tookest vengeance of their inventions.